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Explore the fjords of Norway in Voss, Balestrand and Bergen

Experience western Norway’s most popular holiday spots – Voss, Balestrand and Bergen.

The lakeside town of Voss is situated between the two great fjords – Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord. You will have snowy mountain tops, valleys, rivers and waterfalls at your feet. The town is quite large and boasts a mixture of historical and modern architecture. You will stay in a beautiful 4* hotel from where to enjoy the town’s lively selection of local shops, cafes, restaurants and local businesses. Due to its excellent transport links, Voss is also an ideal base for you to explore further afield and enjoy more of Norway’s wonderful scenery. You can embark on various hikes and excursions to get the most out of your time.

You will love the small village of Balestrand. It is extremely picturesque, being surrounded by fjords and mountains. It is best seen from the quayside which overlooks the mighty Sognefjord – Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. Although Balestrand is small, it has a good variety of shops, cafes and local artisans’ studios for you to enjoy. The village is also the perfect starting point for walking, cycling and boat trips, with glorious views at every turn.

Finally, your trip will end in Bergen famously known as the ‘gateway to the fjords’. It is Norway’s second largest city and its historical wharf buildings of Bryggen have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Bergen is the perfect place to end your holiday with its blend of citylife and nature-based activities.

This holiday encapsulates everything Norway is famous for: lakes, fjords and mountains.

Exploring the fjords of Norway

Day 1 | Arrive Voss & Lake Vang

Fly to Bergen Airport and then take the airport bus to Bergen Train Station. Your journey now continues by Bergen Line train to Voss (duration approximately 1hr 15mins). Your hotel is located directly adjacent to the station and is within easy walking distance.

Check-in to your hotel. For the duration of your stay dinner is included and is served in the hotel's lovely restaurant.

3 nights VOSS - Fleischers Hotel (4*)


Days 2 & 3 | Explore Voss

Voss is located in the heart of fjord Norway and is known as the Adventure Capital of Norway. Voss offers something for everyone, whether you're an outdoor activity enthusiast or someone who prefers to potter and experience local culture.

The town is home to a community of 15,000 inhabitants who live, work and relax in the resort. Throughout the resort you will find a good selection of local facilities including restaurants, cafes, shops, Voss Folkemuseum and Voss Church.

Everyone will appreciate Voss Gondol, the brand new cable car which, in just 9 minutes, carries you all the way from Voss centre to the summit of Mount Hanguren (820m). At the top you will find Hangurstoppen Restaurant, the perfect location to enjoy lunch with a view. For those who want to stretch their legs why not pre-book one of our guided hikes? The Craftsman's Hike provides a good combination of hiking and local culture.

Voss is also the perfect location for those who enjoy a variety of water-based activities. The Stranda and Raundal rivers are close-by and provide an exciting array of rapids for whitewater rafting and river-boarding. Lake Vang is right on the doorstep for kayaking, and day trips to the Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A local bus service operates to the fjord and offer the possibility to visit Viking Valley Njardarheimr for a journey 1000 years back in time.


Day 4 | Flåm Mountain Railway & fjord cruise

Your journey today begins by continuing on the Bergen Line train towards Oslo, alighting at Myrdal. Here you change to the famous Flåm Mountain Railway for the magnificent descent to Flåm overlooking the Aurlandsfjord. The Flåm Railway has been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is certainly one of the steepest standard gauge railway lines. During the 1-hour journey the train descends 867 metres alongside the Rallar Road, vertiginous mountainsides, foaming waterfalls and through 20 tunnels. National Geographic Traveller Magazine called the Flåm Railway one of the top 10 train journeys in Europe while in 2014, Lonely Planet Traveller went even further and named it the best train journey in the world!

On arrival in Flåm walk the short distance across the tracks to the quayside. Here you board your vessel for a spectacular fjord-cruise along the Aurlands and Sogne fjords. In the distance you will slowly start to see Balestrand, one of the most perfectly located fjord villages in the whole of Norway, with the imposing Kviknes Hotel directly overlooking the fjord.

Check-in to your hotel. For the duration of your stay a wonderful Scandinavian buffet dinner, or Smörgåsbord, is included and served in your hotel's world famous restaurant with a view of the fjord.

3 nights BALESTRAND - Kviknes Hotel (4*)


Days 5 & 6 | Explore Balestrand

Balestrand is an idyllic village with a magnificent backdrop of mountains and the Sognefjord directly in front. Potter around the village centre, home to a small collection of shops, cafes, restaurants and local artists' studios before visiting Sognefjord Aquarium which sits directly in the harbour. If you appreciate unique and interesting architecture you will certainly enjoy a walk alongside the fjord to admire the magnificent villas, built around 1900, which grace the fjord-side.

Other cultural attractions include the modern Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism which is located right in the centre of Balestrand and provides an interesting insight into the history of tourism in this region. Also, St. Olaf's Church, known as the English Church - a tiny stave church erected in memory of Margaret Sophie Green Kvikne, a vicar's daughter from Yorkshire, who came to Norway as a mountaineer and fell in love!

As well as an impressive collection of marked walking and hiking trails in the mountains, Balestrand offers a variety of water-based activities and sightseeing opportunities. Why not take one of several exhilarating fjord-cruises by RIB boat, or for something more leisurely include a Fjærlandsfjord sightseeing cruise including a visit to the Norwegian Glacier Museum and glaciers? A local bus journey will bring you to the viewpoint at Utsikten which sits on the mountain pass of Gaularfjellet. The viewing platform balances on the edge of the mountain, 700 metres above the fjord, with breathtaking views of the mountains, fjord and village below. Please see the Excursions tab for details of optional activities from Balestrand.


Day 7 | Fjord and coastal cruise to Bergen

Today you journey by express boat along the Sognefjord, out to where it meets the sea, and continues southwards along the coastline to Bergen. The remainder of the day is free to explore Norway's second largest city. Explore Bryggen, the charming and colourful Hanseatic harbour (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), before taking the funicular railway to the viewing point at the top of Mount Fløien. Bergen is also home to numerous shops, cafes and restaurants which are clustered within easy walking distance of one another and perfect for pottering during the afternoon or morning before departure.

1 night BERGEN - Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (4*)


Day 8 | Homeward bound

You will have a ticket for the airport bus from Bergen centre, close to your hotel, to Bergen Airport for your return flight home.

Departure Days:  Daily departures possible, subject to flight schedules
Departure Dates:  1 May – 30 September 2020
Duration:  7 nights
Prices from:  £1970 per person, based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room throughout
Deposit:  £200 per person

It is important to read the Terms and Conditions which apply when making a confirmed booking with us. By asking us to confirm your booking, we are entitled to assume that you have read and understood our terms and conditions, and agree to them.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled flights with SAS in SAS Go class from London Heathrow Airport to Bergen Airport (indirect) including 23kgs of checked luggage and one piece of hand-luggage per person.
  • Flight taxes.
  • Airport bus transfer from Bergen Airport to Bergen Train Station.
  • Rail journey from Bergen to Voss (duration approx 1-hr 15-mins).
  • 3 nights at the 4* Fleischers Hotel in Voss based on a standard double/twin room including daily Scandinavian buffet breakfast and either a buffet or 3-course set menu dinner.
  • Rail journey from Voss to Myrdal (duration approx. 40-mins).
  • Flåm Mountain Railway journey from Myrdal to Flåm (duration approx. 1-hr).
  • Express boat journey from Flåm to Balestrand (duration approx. 1-hr 25-mins).
  • Luggage transfer service from the quayside in Balestrand to reception of Kviknes Hotel.
  • 3 nights at the 4* Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand based on a double/twin view room in the main building on floors 5-8 including daily Scandinavian buffet breakfast and buffet dinner.
  • Express boat journey from Balestrand to Bergen (duration approx. 4-hrs).
  • 1 night at the 4* Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz in Bergen based on a standard double/twin room including daily Scandinavian buffet breakfast. NB. This hotel also include a complimentary evening buffet meal for all hotel guests.
  • Airport bus transfer from Bergen centre to Bergen Airport.
  • 24-hour emergency telephone assistance.
  • Travel document wallet and luggage labels.

This holiday is ATOL Protected.

 

Fleischer’s Hotel (4*) – Voss

Fleischer's Hotel in Voss

A delightful traditional hotel, surrounded by mountains and lakes. Internationally renowned under owner management of the Fleischer family for over 150 years. Elegant public rooms, perhaps the most beautiful dining room in western Norway inspired by swiss architecture. Indoor heated swimming pool, saunas, solarium, bars, dancing to live music six nights weekly. Rooms are accessible via a lift to every floor.

Kviknes Hotel (4*) – Balestrand

Kviknes Hotel Balestrand

We have featured the Kviknes Hotel, and enjoyed a close co-operation with the Kvikne Family, since our beginnings – but not since theirs! At Kvikne’s their beginnings go right back to 1752 and the best traditions of inn-keeping. The Kvikne family, who still own the hotel, started their reign in 1877, a little before our time, and today it is Sigurd Kvikne (4th generation) who heads up the hotel, with his sister Kari managing their reservations and Front Office.

Although the hotel originally started with only two rooms (yes, just two!), today the hotel has 200 guest rooms and is one of the largest tourist hotels in Norway. Graced with an extensive collection of artworks and antiques, the hotel also has a list of prominent guests; Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was a frequent guest, along with royalty, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, film stars and artists from many countries.

The hotel was originally built in the ‘Swiss’ style and this section is now referred to as the ‘Old Wing’ or ‘Historical Swiss Style Building’; however much new building, reconstruction and extension has taken place since, not least the addition of the ‘New Wing’ in the 1960s (see below). The Old Wing directly overlooks the Sognefjord and this is where you will find the beautiful dragon-style restaurant and lounge areas with a small number of guest rooms. In the public rooms you will find a fine collection of paintings from the numerous artists who stayed at the hotel (occasionally using their paintings as a way to pay for their stay!) and antique furniture in keeping with the antique, dragon-style wooden interior.

There are a number of different room categories available at the hotel. Our clients are accommodated in rooms on a high floor in the New Wing of the hotel with a view of the gardens and fjord. These rooms have twin beds, a seating area, desk, TV, telephone and bathroom with bath/shower and WC. A small number of twin rooms are also available in the Old Wing of the hotel which are simply and traditionally furnished in keeping with the old style of the hotel and have a view of the fjord. These rooms are available at a supplement. The Old Wing also has a small number of Junior Suites which have a separated seating area and bedroom and a view of the fjord. Please ask our reservations staff for applicable supplements.

The hotel serves a wonderful, traditional Scandinavian buffet for dinner with a broad selection of cold meats, fish and salad along with a good selection of hot dishes featuring meat, fish and vegetarian options. A large buffet breakfast is also served.

The New Wing – Beauty or the Beast?

It was during the 1960s, when Sigurd and Kari’s father, Per Kvikne, was running the hotel that he faced an increased demand for more rooms and plans for a new, modern building were drawn up. At the time Per came under considerable pressure to demolish the old, wooden hotel entirely and completely re-build a modern hotel in its place; however, he couldn’t bear to do this (he had an emotional attachment to the hotel and the memories and history it held) and he decided to have two contrasting buildings instead, retaining the old but building a new, and for them to sit alongside one another, both a testament to their place in history and both examples of fine architecture. This decision proved to be very controversial but it is one that we love and applaud! The New Wing is now seamlessly attached to its older sibling so that internally you pass from one to the other without even knowing you have done so, however, externally the two remain very distinct from one another and still cause something of a visual stir when approaching the hotel from the fjord.

Like it or loathe it, the New Wing is a beautiful example of post-modern 60s architecture and, without it, there simply wouldn’t be a historical, wooden building at all!

Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (4*) – Bergen

Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz

Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz has an enviable location directly in Bryggen, Bergen’s Hanseatic harbour. Set behind the main wharf buildings that line the harbour’s facade, the hotel has the benefit of being centrally located and yet is quiet.  The hotel offers a variety of room types with standard and superior rooms being the ones primarily featured in Scandinavia Only’s holidays. Both room categories have very comfortable beds with both doubles and twins being available. All rooms are en-suite, many with a bathtub, and a seating area, desk, LED TV, free WiFi, hairdryer, refrigerator, mini-bar, bathrobe and slippers, safe, ironing board and iron, and kettle. Superior rooms are slightly larger and have a better view.

The hotel include a full Scandinavian buffet breakfast AND a complimentary evening buffet meal for all hotel guests, plus there is an a la carte restaurant and bar/lounge in the hotel.

There is a multi-storey car park directly across the road from the hotel (payable locally) making it a very convenient hotel for those with a hire car. The hotel is steps away from Fløibanen, the funicular railway to the summit of Mount Fløyen, the harbour, fish market and numerous restaurants, bars and cafes.

The hotel has a lift to all floors and has wheelchair accessible rooms and allergy-friendly rooms.

HIKING ACTIVITIES

The Craftsman’s Hike from Voss

Description:  In Voss, several craftsmen keep alive the local building traditions, craftsmanship and know-how, which often find their origin several centuries back in time. On the Craftsman’s hike, you will rediscover traditions that are an important and integral part of the Norwegian identity. Unfortunately, these traditions are now mostly forgotten due to lack of use and education.
Jean-Christophe is a carpenter, now specialised in traditional craftsmanship. He will take you to a traditional farm in a typical Western-Norwegian landscape where he will explain to you several aspects of the traditional building techniques, related to the local environment of the hike. You will learn about log houses, “grindbygg”, the use of hand tools (especially the axe), about tree felling, dry masonry, and more.
We will also talk about how traditional buildings function and how life was in such houses and barns, and compare it to the modern times.
The focus on this trip is culture and history. Still, you will find yourself in the midst of pristine nature as we walk through forests, over mountain streams and along fields (where we probably will meet some sheep and cows).
Operates:  15 June – 15 September
Departs:  Meeting point is Voss Railway Station. Meet 15 minutes before departure.
Duration:  5 hours, including 1 hour transport
Price:  £  per person
Price includes:  An experienced craftsman to guide you during your whole trip. A meal of locally crafted food, including hot drinks, prepared on a stove. All necessary safety equipment. Bus tickets from Voss to the starting point and back to Voss after the trip.
Good to know:  This trip is suitable for reasonably fit people with some hiking experience (moderate level).  You must be wearing outdoor clothing and solid hiking shoes or boots for the tour. You will need to take along a small backpack (20 litres), sunglasses, sun lotion, extra T-shirt and sweater, waterproof clothing (shell layer) and beanie or knit cap, snacks or packed lunch and water bottle. Trekking poles are recommended.
Minimum age:  9 years, who enjoy hiking with parents.

The Viking trail Sverrestigen from Voss

Description:  Raundalen is a 25-kms long valley that stretches from the landmark of Rastalii, all the way to Upsete. Thanks to its wild nature and interesting history, Raundalen is the perfect valley for hiking. A rare gem, just a few minutes out of Voss!
Sverrestigen is one of the most remarkable trails in Raundalen. The trail starts close to Rastalii, the deep gorge that shapes an impressive entrance gate to the valley. Our hike starts right here, in this wild and impressive location. From here we follow in the footsteps of the Viking King named Sverre Sigurdsson!
We travel to the starting point of our hike by catching the train to Klyve, just a couple of stops out of Voss. From Klyve we quickly reach the start of Sverrestigen. The trail is steep and exposed, and can be impressive (we can choose another trail in case the conditions become too difficult). The trails leads us to Klyvsnolten (730 m), at the top of Rastalii.
Before we continue on the ridge, we stop for a lunch break and enjoy the unique panorama of all the mountains of Voss. The next stage brings us to Fjossstølen, a typical mountain-farm area. There we meet the old Raundal trail, and follow it down through the forest to Klyve. The local farmers had blocked this very trail back in 1177. We can thus enjoy both perspectives of this episode of the Norwegian History.
After a nice walk downhill, we land on the modern Raundal road, and take the train back to Voss.
Operates:  10 May – 20 October
Departs:  0950. Meeting point is at Voss Railway Station. Meet 15 minutes before departure.
Duration:  6 hours, including 1-hr transport.
Price:  £120 per person.
Price includes:  An experienced guide during your whole trip. A meal of locally crafted food, including hot drinks, prepared on a stove. All necessary safety equipment. Train tickets from Voss to the starting point and back to Voss after the trip.
Good to know:  This trip is suitable for reasonably fit people with some hiking experience (moderate level). You must be wearing outdoor clothing and solid hiking shoes or boots for the tour. You will need to take along a small backpack (20 litres), sunglasses, sun lotion, extra T-shirt and sweater, waterproof clothing (shell layer) and beanie or knit cap, snacks or packed lunch and water bottle. Trekking poles are recommended.
Minimum age:  9 years, who already enjoy hiking.

This holiday is perfect for people who love magnificent scenery and really want to be outdoors experiencing it. Voss and Balestrand are fantastic resorts for walker and hikers with plenty of marked trails and pre-bookable guided hikes. Although not large resorts, each is well served by local transport giving the opportunity to explore independently.

All the hotels are of a 4* standard, providing a high standard of accommodation and dining, so this holiday lends itself to those who like a degree of comfort.

Most of this holiday, as featured, is suitable for those using a wheelchair i.e. flights, transfers, accommodation and domestic transport are all wheelchair adapted. However, in order to ensure availability, inform each of our suppliers and ensure arrangements are confirmed, it is vital that we are informed of the requirement at the time of enquiry/booking.

There are certain additional adaptations which we may need to make to the itinerary and some of these may have price consequences. For example: we can organise private airport transfers in adapted vehicles if this is preferred, though these would be at a supplement; each of the three featured hotels have wheelchair adapted rooms though sometimes these may be limited to superior category rooms due to size which would incur a supplement; hotels often charge a supplement for luggage assistance inside the hotel. These costs, where required, will be quoted prior to your acceptance of the holiday.

Travel Accreditations - Norway Travel Awards Winner, IATA, ABTA